Can This Unorganized Girl Find Structure?

#AskAwayFriday Structure

It’s back…another #AskAwayFriday and this week I’m swapping with Beth from Structure in an Unstructured Life.

Beth, Structure

Maybe it’s serendipitous, maybe it’s a sign (to get my act together and get some structure in my life) but Beth is the third blogger I’ve swapped with who is ultra-organized and loves making lists. Beth’s blog is full of creative ideas, information and tools for moms. Her most recent post about Avoiding the Summer Slide, is appropriate even for my (slightly) older kids. Beth is asking me ten questions today and once you read my answers – please visit Beth to check out how she answers my toughest ten.

#AskAwayFriday is hosted by these great bloggers, find out more about them and see who they swapped with by clicking on their links below…


Tamara from Tamara Like Camera,
Tiffany from Mrs. Tee Love Life Laughter,
Christy from Uplifting Families,
Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings
Amber from Bold Fit Mom

On to the questions…

Your kids are 13 and 11 year old twins; what are your favorite and least favorite things about these ages?

Favorite for all of them…they are fun to be around. They like to talk and tell me about their days, who has said or done something they found funny or crazy. I learn a lot about them through these conversations and while it’s not always easy hearing what they have to say I appreciate so much that they are at least talking to me.

My least favorite is the “I know!” answer. Instead of, “Okay, mom” which is the appropriate answer. For example, in the morning I might say, “Hey guys, I’m headed to work in a couple minutes. You’ve got laundry to bring up and put away. I wrote a list of the things I’d like done before I get back.” They might as well say it in unison, “I know.” While they watch TV or text or play games on their iDevices (-phone, -pod, -pad, does it make a difference?) Say it in your head with an attitude, like “duh.” Why it bugs me…because they couldn’t possibly know. I don’t leave lists everyday, they don’t have laundry to put away everyday. The appropriate answer is, “Okay, mom.” I find it disrespectful. I’d like it to stop. Can anyone help me with that…because me repeatedly saying, “Don’t say “I know”, just say “okay mom” ” isn’t working.


LOVE your cocktails on your blog! Being the Irish girl I am, I love a good whiskey drink, and don’t like anything too sweet. Tell me what I should order the next time I go out.

I’m not a huge whiskey drinker. I did finesse this cocktail for Father’s Day last year, it’s delicious, but not something you can just order anywhere.

knock your socks off father's day cocktail


My suggestion for something simple, delicious and can be ordered practically anywhere is Jameson ‘n Ginger with lemon and lime. If you don’t like the idea of drinking a bunch of ginger-ale you could get it short so there is less ginger-ale or just do a splash of ginger and do the rest soda/seltzer.


What’s on your summer reading list?

As of this afternoon, I just finished Lost in Spain, by Scott Oglesby.

It’s pretty hilarious. And uncomfortable at times. This is Scott’s account of living in Spain for three years and sharing all of the crazy. One part, about chicken germs and counting the steps home to not focus on the germs, which was going bring him to his doorstep while ending on a bad number, causing a series of avoidance tactics that were ridiculous in themselves but the internal dialogue accompanying the actions…all of it had me laughing so hard I had to stop reading and catch my breath – more than once. I actually tweeted Scott at about 2AM because I finally finished that part of the book and I figured he needed to know how much I loved it. (Wouldn’t you want someone to tell you if they were laughing that hard at your story?) It reminded me a little bit of Steve Martin’s The Pleasure of My Company. Which I also loved. One of the reviews says, “Scott’s mind is like an amusement park.” And that is the perfect description. Weird coincidence: I was at an amusement park when I finished it today. (I’m not boring, I just have/get motion sickness, my kids bring friends. We’re all good!)

I just started The Boleyn King by Laura Andersen.

I loved The Other Boleyn Girl so I have high hopes for this trilogy, which will take me through the summer.

If you are looking for other ideas check out Dana’s list at KissMyList, there are a few on there I’m going to get to once I’m finished with the Boleyn series.


We’re both sports mamas – what do you think is the most valuable lesson your kids have learned from sports so far?

They’ve learned that life isn’t fair. That’s the main lesson.

That’s also the simplest way of saying they learned even when it isn’t fair you still do your best, prove your value and be true to yourself. You don’t listen to the negative…it’s not about you. The vast majority of the time, even though you are affected, it is not about you.

I’ve written several times about this past year’s sports experiences (lax, hockey and combined sports). In fact, my first blog post ever was about helping your kids maintain their self-worth despite athletic disappointments.

I’ve seen my oldest cry when my youngest was treated unfairly. Yet they both showed up and worked hard and no one would have ever known either of them were hurt or angry or disappointed.

I’ve seen my daughter high five and support a teammate who hates her, is mean to her and says bad things about her. She puts it all aside because it’s better for the team when she does.

These aren’t easy lessons, but I’m watching my kids handle themselves with much more grace and tolerance and understanding than I’m probably capable of. They’re definitely not easy lessons but they are good lessons – we all need to learn them.


What’s your idea of the perfect summer meal?

Shrimp tacos with fresh pineapple salsa; ripe tomatoes w Mozzarella di Bufala, avocado, orange, basil, olive oil and balsamic; roasted corn & jalapeño salsa with tortilla chips and a glass of Sauvignon blanc or a margarita on the rocks

Roasted Corn & Jalapeño Salsa


You are forced to ditch everything in your purse but five items – what do you pick?

My wallet, my Arbonne lip balm and hand cream, a pack of gum, and my phone. I thought that would be harder but my bulging purse is apparently full of, well, crap. Paper towels from drying my hands, a bottle opener, lip gloss that is about 5 years old that I never wear. Lipstick that’s even older. I’m not sure anyone in the past 8 years has seen me wear lipstick. I also found two raspberry fig bars, cleaning cloths for my sunglasses, and a mountain of receipts. I’d actually love to keep the cleaning cloths and a fig bar. Also one of the paper towels, you know, just in case.


What are your favorite and least favorite blogging tasks?

Writing and writing. I have lots of ideas but sometimes getting them to make sense on paper the way I imagine them in my head can be tougher than I think.


If you had to choose one cause you are most passionate about, what would it be?

I feel lame answering this because I’m not passionate about a particular cause. I’m not a crusader or a fundraiser. I love people who are…and that’s good because many of my friends are do-ers. They make good things happen. I wish that was me (sometimes.) Until then, I donate monthly to Women for Women International (and have for years) because I have seen real women receive real opportunities to learn life skills that allow them to support their families/children and make their lives better. I think it’s amazing that this organization can do so much with so little. I am in awe of people who can still find hope in a situation that most of us would find hopeless. The letters I’ve received describing circumstances beyond my imagination…they are overwhelming. Donating money is not nothing…but it’s not passion, either.


As an East Coast gal, tell me three things about the East Coast that would make me love it.

  1. The ocean. There are lots of great beaches. Beautiful beaches all within an hour or two if you need to get there fast. And sometimes you do.
  2. The skiing. I’ll admit I’ve never been skiing out west but my family and I love going to Vermont to ski. I learned at 39 and if I can do it…anyone can.
  3. NYC. I love going to the city, period. It’s exciting. As my sister said, “It feels electric.”


I only have two kiddos and have trouble getting a great picture with both of them in it. I wonder if you have accomplished it with three! Share a favorite picture with all three of your kids in it and tell me why it’s your favorite.

This photo is the most recent, it was the last day of school. I was as happy as they are here. Which is why I love it – there is genuine joy on that last day for all of us.

structure - last day of school

L-R #2,4,5 are mine

I will say, I find that if my kids are playing or doing something outside, I just grab my camera take photos of them doing whatever they are doing (playing basketball, jumping on the trampoline, etc.) then I ask them to get together “real quick” and I don’t take no for an answer. I try to make it fun and I definitely don’t keep them for a long time.

Thanks to Beth for swapping with me this week. Thanks to you for visiting. Now I’d love to know…what lessons have your kids learned through their activities? How do you get great photographs of your family? Care to tell me which 5 items you’d keep in your purse? Please don’t forget to visit Beth – different questions and answers, also…I think you’ll love her ideas about doing stuff with the kids this summer.




  1. Your summer menu sounds amazing and I love shrimp tacos and you already knew how I felt about salsa. And being an East Coast girl, I loved your reasons for loving it, especially NYC 😉

    • I’ll admit my mouth watered a little when I wrote out that menu. I may have just inspired a couple of posts as well…

      Also, NYC is just a given, right?

  2. Great questions and answers. Wish I could help you out with the “Okay mom” response from your kiddos but the only thing I could offer is that I get the same…and some days worse…the eye roll or “are you kidding me?” which I despise. Love your AskAwayFridays, so fun!

    • Thanks Val! It’s the attitude with the words, right? Scar is starting to roll his eyes at me which means the other two wont be far behind. The teen years should be fun, right?

  3. I love your answer for your kiddos’ lesson. OMGosh I love it. And I love that you’re raising kids that understand teamwork, sportsmanship, and how to be the bigger person. Love everything about it.
    As for the “I know” answer, when you figure it out, lemme know,k? My 13-going-on-25 year old son has that same answer and it grates on my nerves too. I usually give him “THE LOOK” but it hasn’t curbed it yet.

  4. I’m right there with you on the “I know” response. That makes my blood boil every time!! I told my boys that every time I heard that they had to complete whatever task I was working on since they know so much – mostly now they just say OK, Mom:)
    Love the picture of your kids + 2!!!
    I will have to put the book (Lost in Spain) on my long list – that sounds like a good one!

  5. I loved this and getting to know you! The lessons you’ve learned and your kids during sports are amazing. I’ve bookmarked a few posts for later when my kids are older. So glad I found you through Ask Away Friday!

  6. The Dose of Reality

    I have Scott’s book! I haven’t read it yet, but I’m going to!! As the mom of a 14 year old..I feel you with the “I know” deal. UGH. It just pushes my buttons. (and it would be so easy to say “okay, mom” and he could just be eye rolling me behind my back. We’d all be happy then! TEENS! 😀 –Lisa

  7. Lisa @ The Golden Spoons

    Fun! I felt just as happy as those kids not he last day of school!! 🙂

  8. Five items I’d keep: wallet, phone, Eos lip balm, my Nordstrom notes that I’m hoarding for a splurge purchase, and my sunglasses.

    Great q&a – and thank you for the book list shout out! I loved The Other Boleyn Girl, so I’ll have to check out the one you mentioned.

    • I can’t believe I didn’t write sunglasses but probably because they are usually on my head like a headband and not in my purse!

      Oh yeah, once I saw your list I knew I didn’t have to write my own! And was thankful for that!

  9. Oh my gosh I can count the times in a day that I hear ‘I know’ but then when I ask them to explain what they know…silence. LOL You’re right Okay Mom is so much better.

  10. That salad looks amazing! I love that even though you say you aren’t passionate, you donate regularly to a cause. I can really appreciate someone who puts their money where their passions lie! I would love to get more pictures of my kids together, but my little Bee loves to be in the background with me, taking the picture instead of being in it.

    • Thank you April! Maybe selfies are acceptable if it’s the best way to capture one of your children – especially since you’ll get both of you and mom’s are never in enough pictures.

  11. I always wanted to try Arbonne products.
    I have heard that the skiing is amazing on the west coast, and I know that the beaches are, but there is just something about everything here. It’s home.

    • Exactly – it’s home. When I first read the question I thought how the heck am I going to answer that one?

      And Arbonne – I’ve been a rep forever, I don’t “actively” sell anymore but I love the products I use.

  12. Thanks for the ‘Lost in Spain’ rec- I love books that make me laugh 🙂 Your story about being at an amusement park reminded me of my friend laughing at me (good-naturedly) when we were vending at a music festival two years ago, and I took out my library book (Coney, by Amram Ducovny) when business was slow. I love reading and it was a really good book, I believe was my defense 🙂
    I love the beach and NYC as well! <3
    'Writing and writing' made me smile, I feel the same way a lot of the time. Sometimes it flows, and sometimes the writing process is so frustrating.
    Hope you're having a good weekend!

  13. What a great swap! I totally agree that conversations with the kiddoes at that age is amazing…and it only gets better! LOL! I just love historical type stories…romances mostly, though. I would love to be on the East coast and near the beach! Haha! I quit carrying a purse a long time ago! I just carry my phone case and license! Have a great week, Stephanie!

  14. My purse is a disaster…which is probably why I just carry a mini wallet around now. As far as pictures of my kids go, I have to take them when they aren’t looking, because they’re at that stage where they don’t like the camera. And I have to let them start the conversation, because if I start it, I get one word answers. The teenage years are tough.

  15. I love that you picked talking to your kids as the favorite! With mine being much younger, it’s harder to find those moments when no one is needing something, but when I can just hang out with them and talk, I love it. That’s one of the great perks of training for a 5K with my older son – we have some great talks on our runs!
    LOVE that you picked a cocktail with Jameson – a true favorite of this Irish Girl! 🙂
    Your sports lessons are fabulous – I only hope my boys can take that wisdom away from the field.
    My purse is full of crap, too! I thought about it when I wrote the question and came to the same conclusion as you – I really could ditch most of it!
    What a fun picture with your kiddos! And thanks for the tips – will be trying them out soon!
    Thank you so much for swapping with me this week – I loved getting to know you better and having the chance to get lost in your blog for awhile! 🙂

  16. Pingback: Jalapeño Watermelon Margarita - "So, I've been thinking..."

  17. The corn salsa looks amazing. I have made my own salsa a few times and it is pretty good. I have a few books on my site under reviews if you are looking for more books to read. The good news is some of them are free too.

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